I have submitted the following Notice of Motion to the next Ordinary Council Meeting to be held 26 June 2018 regarding providing free access to Council meeting recording files.
NOTICE OF MOTION
- Request the Chief Executive Officer ensure an audio file of Council meetings, excluding those parts recorded in confidence, be published on the City of Kalamunda website with the minutes.”
In December 2017 Council rejected a proposal to investigate live streaming of Council meetings. The potential cost and exposure of Councillors and City staff to increased level of scrutiny were cited by some as reasons to not support live streaming, or indeed an investigation into whether it was viable.
All Council meetings are recorded and the audio file is readily available to Councillors on a USB on request. This access was provided in the interests of transparency.
However, the audio files are not readily accessible to the general public and I am advised require a FOI application and fee for each application (ie an application per meeting).
While the minutes may be recorded in accordance with the Local Government Act, only summaries of discussions or questions are required. In essence, unless you attend a meeting there is much missed by reading the minutes alone.
By complementing the minutes with the audio file, residents and stakeholders would have improved access to this information – all of which is open the public, but at this point in time only freely accessible to those who attend in person.
This is not an inclusive process, with many who are unable to attend Council meetings remaining isolated to this information.
The audio file of the meeting’s recording is readily available, at no cost. The cost of uploading this file to the website when the draft minutes are published is negligible.
This solution provides a cost-effective alternative to live streaming.
It will provide the community with access Council discussions and debates, and I am confident it will benefit in providing residents and stakeholders with a better understanding of the reasons behind Council decisions.
In the interests of being more inclusive, consistent with our Disability Inclusion Plan, I urge the City and Councillors to support this motion and thereby improving access for all.